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When bringing home your new foster dog, you may be faced with the challenge of teaching housetraining skills to him/her. All dogs are different and some will pick it up very quickly while others will take longer. Many times, once the new dog knows what door leads outside and he/she is on a schedule of food/water/potty breaks, housetraining is complete within a few days. Schedules are important, structure is important, limited freedom is important but most of all, PATIENCE is important.


  • Set up a feeding/watering schedule. Feed two-three times a day depending on the dogs' needs and allow access to clean water. Feed the last meal at least 2-3 hours before bed and pick all water up 2 hours before bed and/or before you leave for work.


  • Take the dog out to potty when they wake up, after they eat, after they drink, after any play in the house and if they haven’t been out in a while.


  • Use the same door to out for potty every time. Leash the dog up and head outside. 


  • Potty breaks are short, 5-10 minutes tops. Potty breaks are NOT walks or play time. Potty breaks are just that…potty breaks.  

  • If the dog goes potty in 5-10 minutes, praise him/her and allow the do to walk around a bit longer BEFORE heading back inside. Dogs are super smart. If you head back inside immediately following the dog going potty, they will soon realize that all the fun stops as soon as they go. The extra time outside after they potty is a little reward for them complying and going outside.


  • After going potty, bring the dog back in and give them some “free” time in the house (at this point in your dogs’ time with you, they should still be wearing a collar and dragging a leash around). Then crate him/her.


  • If the dog does NOT go potty in the 5-10 minutes time frame, bring he/she back in and CRATE THE DOG. NO FREE ROAM. Wait 15 minutes and try again. Repeating until the dog goes potty. 


  • If you catch your dog beginning to go potty inside, interrupt them by clapping your hands or saying “Eh-Eh” and calmly lead them outside.  NEVER SCOLD! For accidents in the house. ANY accident inside is our fault. We either didn’t follow the feeding/watering schedule or we didn’t crate the dog when they didn’t go potty or we missed their “sign” that they needed to go. Dogs’ don’t know that going potty inside is “bad”. When we scold them for going potty inside, in their mind we are scolding them for going potty…period. We run the risk of making the dog afraid of going potty in front of us, ever. The dog that is scolded for going potty inside is the dog that “just won’t go” outside and sneaks away in the house to go potty when we aren’t looking. They are afraid to go in front of us for fear of being reprimanded.  


  • Until the dog is completely housetrained manage their freedom in the house. Crate, leash or tether them.


BE PATIENT… accidents will happen. Clean them up and move on. BE CONSISTENT. Follow the food/water schedule that works best for the individual dog. Once you have a schedule, stick with it.

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